Dynamic lists are the secret weapon to spring clean your Pardot account

by Matt Lincoln - April 03, 2018
Dynamic lists are the secret weapon to spring clean your Pardot account

Pardot dynamic lists are an extremely useful tool to automatically build lists of prospects who fulfil certain criteria, with two obvious use cases.

1. To ensure that a frequently used list always includes the correct prospects: For example, keeping newsletter lists which you use every month updated with prospects who meet your criteria.

2. To automate actions when prospects meet certain criteria: For example, a dynamic list for prospects which have not engaged in over six months feeding into an Engagement Studio nurturing program.

For spring cleaning Pardot, let’s consider a third option:

3. Providing reporting on data quality: All dynamic lists show the number of contacts who match the list, allowing you to keep track of database health and take action when an issue is identified.

Looking at some examples where dynamic lists can be used to report on database health:

3a. Identifying missing information

Have a think about which pieces of information are important either in terms of segmentation of data or personalisation of message. In the example of the first name field, to be able to use this as a variable tag for personalisation, it’s important to have a clean database. Overall we want to minimise the blanks – to get some numbers on how many prospects are missing key information, we can follow the example below.

Pardot Dynamic Lists

Bonus: ensure to set a backup of a default mail merge value in case of blanks

3b. Finding ‘overmailed’ prospects

There’s no quicker route to racking up unsubscribes than ‘overmailing’ our prospects by sending too many emails in a short period of time. That number and timescale will be personal to your brand, industry and target market, and it’s also worth considering that prospects at different points in the buying cycle may expect different frequencies of communication.

You can use the example below to find prospects who have been emailed too frequently, changing the numbers to match your own internal definitions:

Pardot Dynamic Lists

Bonus: This dynamic list could be used as a suppression list to ensure that you avoid oversaturating prospects with list emails or engagement studio programme nurture emails

3c. Finding the gaps in your segmentation

Dynamic lists can also be used to find prospects who haven’t been sent any emails. It’s likely that these prospects are either missing certain data which you’re using to segment and build target lists, or they just fall outside your target market. Either way, understanding this in more detail could give the insight needed to clean the data or remove non-target market prospects from your database, helping to keep within your database limits.

Due to the way Pardot’s list logic works, we can’t directly build this list, so we have to create it by making two lists:

List 1: has been emailed:

Pardot Dynamic Lists

List 2: not on the “has been emailed” list

Pardot Dynamic Lists

3d. Recency Lists

It’s also worth auditing the number of inactive or never active prospects in your database. These are prospects who have not been “seen” engaging with your assets, or haven’t engaged in a long time.  By assets we refer to your website, emails clicks, Pardot hosted pages/files etc.

These prospects could be re-engaged using a nurturing programme, or potentially deleted if they still have no interest in your offering.

Pardot Dynamic Lists


If you have any questions about any of these setups and best practices regarding dynamic lists, please get in touch with us as we would be happy to help.

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